The Single Most Important Skill You Need To Succeed

The Single Most Important Skill You Need To Succeed


As an entrepreneur you can have the best business model in the world with the highest margins, the biggest differentiators, and the highest barriers to entry, but if you can’t sell, none of these would make any difference. I believe that the ability to sell is the number one skill to acquire and the number one skill to keep on honing.

Too many struggling entrepreneurs have a bad relationship with the idea of being a ‘sales person’.

If you are one of these, here are five points to help you move from a struggling entrepreneur to a sales entrepreneur:

1Sell yourself first

Too many (unsuccessful) entrepreneurs believe that there are better people to sell their product or services than themselves. They have ironically sold themselves the myth that they are not sales people based on a misconception they have about what a sales person needs to ‘look like’.

The first step you, as an entrepreneur, need to take is to believe that there is no person better suited to sell in your organisation than you. This, importantly, must not preclude you from building a sales team. In my experience, when the entrepreneur can sell (what I call a sales entrepreneur) the probabilities of the business’s success are multiplied tenfold.

Related: 5 Mistakes To Avoid In Sales

2Be the authentic you


There is no one specific ‘look’ that a sales person has. They are introverts, extroverts, tall, short, technical, and non-technical. Sales entrepreneurs who try to look and act like someone else, come across as inauthentic and uncomfortable in their own skin.

Sales entrepreneurs that are authentic to their personality produce better results because they appear to be authentic, passionate, and trustworthy.

3Read, listen, train, watch

Sales entrepreneurs understand that the sales skills journey is ongoing and never ending. They read about sales techniques and processes in books, magazines, on blogs and websites; they watch training videos on YouTube; and they attend sales training courses that focus on skills and sales strategies that resonate with their personality and their product or service. An entrepreneur who is obsessed with sales techniques and strategy is an entrepreneur to back.

4Create and record your sales process

Sales entrepreneurs are deliberate about their sales processes.

  • From an improvement point of view, once a sales process is documented and understood, one has the ability to reflect on its efficacy or strengths and weaknesses.
  • A documented sales process is more easily transferable to new sales people who join the business.
  • A sales process that is documented implies a more deliberate and thought-through approach to selling.

5Get feedback, take a colleague

Each of us has a blind spot and we all perceive reality differently. Sales entrepreneurs understand this and encourage feedback.

Related: You Need To Sell, Be A Salesman, Be A Smous

The most practical form of feedback that you will receive is from a well-briefed colleague in your business who is tasked with critiquing your sales pitch, with a 70/30 bias towards what can be improved.

Ask your colleague these questions after your sales pitch:

  • Do you think the potential client understood what I was selling?
  • Do you think they will buy from us and why?

Feedback should be a continuous part of your journey as a sales entrepreneur. Starting today, change your relationship with the concept of selling, become obsessed with sales techniques and strategies that can be implemented in your business, and keep honing your selling skills. Only then will you experience sustainable business growth.

Allon Raiz
Allon Raiz is the CEO of Raizcorp, the only privately-owned small business ‘prosperator’ in Allon Raiz is the CEO of Raizcorp. In 2008, Raiz was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and in 2011 he was appointed for the first time as a member of the Global Agenda Council on Fostering Entrepreneurship. Following a series of entrepreneurship master classes delivered at Oxford University in April 2014, Raiz has been recognised as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. Follow Allon on Twitter.